Group launches crowdfunder to ban vehicles from rural lane
- Credit: Birgit Griem
A community group that has watched a road's condition deteriorate has launched a fundraiser to ban vehicles driving down it.
Reclaim the Lane has been launched by people living in Foulsham and Themelthorpe as they try to apply for reclassification of Fox and Hounds Lane in a bid to see all motorised vehicles excluded.
Birgit Griem, spokesperson for the group, said the condition of the road, which is currently unclassified, had declined over the last year.
“During the first lockdown, I went down there two or three times a week and I watched it get worse," she said, adding that it is now "slippery and has deep ruts".
The group believes 4x4 drivers who do not want to use paid-for mud tracks have been using it, and have made it impassable for anyone on foot, on two wheels or riding a horse.
Norfolk County Council has issued an emergency road closure after its condition deteriorated, which is set to remain in place until the end of summer.
Repair works that had been planned there were delayed due to poor weather.
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But the group hopes to see the road reclassified permanently to ban motorised vehicles.
The lane connects the villages. It offers access to businesses and links the wider community with the Marriotts Way footpath, Foxley Wood nature reserve and public transport links.
The group formed last September when they started with a socially distanced meeting on the lane.
Ms Griem said: “It is a clash of ideas over what we should do in the countryside, the rights of cars and the environment.
“I'm on the side of the environment and the rights of people accessing it without noise and issues.”
The group's fundraiser aims to raise £8,500, which they say will cover legal costs associated with the process.
Ms Griem said they have received more than 40 donations and the fundraiser currently stands at just over £3,600.
Norfolk County Council said it had listened to the group's concerns, and said a bid for reclassification would need to go through a legal process, with further assessment from its legal and design teams.
A spokesperson said reclassification could be quite challenging to achieve.
The fundraising page is available at https://gofund.me/32fa9923